Sweet Tea Time

Flagler Mother's Day

Photo courtesy of the Flagler Museum

We know the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum as a celebration of the Gilded Age – that period between the Civil War and World War I, when U.S. population and industry boomed, a handful of men became very rich, and their homes reflected it. Important things were invented: The telephone. The light bulb. Coca-Cola.

And Mother’s Day, in 1914. So, for many years the museum’s Café des Beaux-Arts has hosted a very special Mother’s Day Tea for mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunts, and other lovelies. The menu includes finger sandwiches, scones, sweets and the Museum’s own Whitehall Special Blend™ tea.

You may reserve for either of two dates: Saturday, May 13 from 11:30-2:30, and Sunday, May 14, from noon-3 p.m. Tickets include prix fixe tea, museum admission, taxes, gratuity and a corsage for each mother.


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Old Guard, New Home

Old Guard Society

Photo courtesy of The Palm Beach Daily News

Everybody retires to Palm Beach. Even social clubs.

The Old Guard Society of golfers, established on the island in 1918 and soon to be 100 years old, is moving back… and instead of using a hotel porch as its headquarters, the club will get its own building on Bradley Place.

Clubs like the Old Guard Society were transformative in resort golf culture. They were about far more than just golf; they were about extending the life of privilege to a southern destination so that golf and the associated lifestyle could be lived 12 months of the year. These “clubs within a club” (Pinehurst had one, too) required a certain degree of longevity. A gentleman could not be nominated to the Old Guard fraternity until he’d wintered here for at least four seasons.

Its first “meetings” were held at the old Royal Poinciana Hotel (and by meetings, we mean clusters of golfers gathered on the expansive porch, enjoying one another’s company once they’d signed their scorecards). Once organized, the Old Guard operated out of the clubhouse of The Breakers before moving to West Palm Beach in 1992.

According to The Shiny Sheet, the club now has about 90 members, who meet for lunch, cards and golf (especially in season), as well as outings and monthly dinners with their wives.

Welcome home.


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Our Fabulous Fountain

It might not be clear which film actually won the Best Picture Oscar, but we’re certain of this: The Addison Mizner Memorial Fountain has been named “Project of the Year” by the Florida Chapter of the American Public Works Association.

Mizner fountain

Photo: Palm Beach Daily News

“This is wonderful news for the residents of Palm Beach and a testament to the quality and importance of the work that was done to properly restore the beautiful Mizner Fountain for the next generation to enjoy,” said Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio.

Designed by renowned architect Addison Mizner, the 1929 double-bowl, cast-stone fountain had been scarred by corrosion from the tropical climate, coastal conditions, and scouring from the fountain’s normal water flow. The Town wanted to conserve as much of the original fountain as possible, especially the hippocamps – the four mythical horses of the sea. So the fountain was carefully disassembled and the pieces sent hither and yon for meticulous restoration.

So meticulous, it turns out, that it earned top honors in the Historic Restoration/Preservation category.

In short, our hippocamps rule.


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Trivia Tuesday: Getting There

The Royal Poinciana, Palm Beach’s first luxury hotel, opened in 1894. Henry Flagler’s railway was still several years away. How did the hotel transport its guests in the early days?

  1. Houseboat
  2. Mule-drawn trolley
  3. Converted stagecoach
  4. Steamship

Answer: A houseboat. Flagler’s company bought the houseboat St. Augustine in, well, St. Augustine. He brought it south so he could more easily transport hotel visitors from the west bank of Lake Worth over to the island. By 1896, the train delivered guests directly to the south side of the hotel, where they were greeted by an orchestra.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

Art in the Estate

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MB Aman & Meeks Design

Photos courtesy of The Monacelli Press. Reprinted with permission.

It’s a balancing act, to be sure – marrying a stately Palm Beach mansion with edgy postwar art and sculpture. In his new book, The New Formal (The Monacelli Press, 240 pages, $60), interior designer James Aman shows us how it’s done.

Throughout the lush pages, Aman’s niche emerges. The scale of the homes, whether in Palm Beach, Manhattan, or the Hamptons, tends to be grand, the perfect canvas for art that ranges from the provocative to the (ever so slightly) alarming. Everything revolves around the owners’ collections, while the furnishings and surroundings retain warmth and elegance.

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Jim Aman and Emily Fisher Landau, who wrote the book’s introduction, at the Palm Beach launch.

Each chapter begins with a one-page essay about the design considerations, but beyond that, it’s a photo-rich storybook. Three Palm Beach residences feature prominently:

The Regency estate: Aman describes the home as “classic with an edge.” Spare but not stark, the décor is kept minimalist in order that each room can showcase one or two major pieces from the owners’ collection, which ranges from an imposing George I giltwood console to an explosive pink/coral/salmon/green wall hanging by Jorge Pardo.

The Breakers retreat: Low, streamlined furnishings maximize all the views in this space – the art and the ocean. At any point, the art arrangement includes about two dozen pieces, some of which are permanent fixtures and some that rotate at the owner’s desire. Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Frank Gehry, Willem de Kooning – it’s a who’s who.

Lake Worth adventure: This home is a little harder to pin down geographically. We presume it’s on Lake Worth, rather than in Lake Worth. The space is stately and serene; the art is electric and sexy. It’s at once a home and a gallery or, as the owner says, “a visual adventure as we move from room to room.” Aman designed the home as it was being built. “Our goal in virtually all cases was to tone things down,” he says, “to keep the color palette of the walls and furnishings quiet so the art could project in full glory.”


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

Trivia Tuesday: The Inventor

Gum illustration JPG.jpgWe often think of Henry Flagler as the first millionaire to recognize Palm Beach as paradise. One of the wealthy industrialists who beat him here, however, made what product?

  1. The stop sign
  2. Tutti-Frutti chewing gum
  3. Shredded Wheat breakfast cereal
  4. The zipper

Answer: It was the gum. While all these innovations dated to the late 1800s (the stop sign was conceived in 1890, but not put into use for 25 more years… yikes!), it was Thomas Adams who discovered that Mexican chicle produced a smooth, snappy chewing gum. His company produced the first flavored gums – licorice and fruit – inventions that were almost literally eaten up by the American public. He made a fortune, and spent some of it on Palm Beach real estate.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

Palm Beach Chic

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Photos reprinted with permission.

Palm Beach homes, Palm Beach gardens and Palm Beach life, written by a Palm Beach girl – someone with stories to share and the kind of access you only get when you’re a lifelong friend.

palm-beach-chic-coverThe book is Palm Beach Chic (The Vendome Press, 312 pages, $75), a gorgeous volume that’s witty, understated and urbane – much like Palm Beach itself.

Author Jennifer Ash Rudick moved to the island when she was 12, and gives us the insider-est possible perspective on the homes, their histories and their occupants. The book (graced with jaw-dropping photographs by Jessica Klewicki Glynn) celebrates the architects, interior designers and garden designers who’ve made each home perfect.

“Since its early days,” Rudick notes, “Palm Beach has been synonymous with awe-inspiring structures.” Awe-inspiring, yes, and anything but cookie-cutter. You think you know what a Palm Beach mansion looks like? Not possible. Whether a Regency estate, a Mid-Century Modern apartment, or a “surf shack” on Billionaire’s Row, the only standard is excellence.

Inside the description of each house is the description of the way life is lived in each house: “Days are spent en famille,” Rudick writes in the chapter about the Gumdrop House. “The mornings begin on the eastern loggia with coffee… tennis is at 11:30, followed by a buffet lunch on the western loggia at 1:30.” So very civilized.

And then there are the laugh-out-loud stories. Chronicling the massive renovation at Casa Amado: “A rustling in the entry hall turned out to be a fox the size of a German shepherd.” Moving into a vintage second-floor Worth Avenue flat: “Their belongings had to be hoisted through a window by crane. ‘We’re never leaving. We can’t!’ says the wife.”

Interior fabrics and furnishings are meticulously sourced. And the art… oh, the art.

These homes are showplaces, every one, without a hint of conspicuous consumption. Each chapter is a vignette in one grand Palm Beach story. In the end, it all comes down to one thing: Taste. Exquisite taste.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

Palm Beach Visual Arts

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Cover photo courtesy of Pelican Publishing Co.

Palm Beach has long been home to those who seek after beautiful things – to create them, to cherish them and to collect them.

In her new book, local gallery owner and author Deborah Pollack weaves the story of Palm Beach’s history as told through 125 years of its artwork. Palm Beach Visual Arts (200 pages, Pelican Publishing Co., $34.95) wraps its narrative around every conceivable art form – painting, photography, jewelry, architecture, sculpture, ceramics, and fashion.

Produced in collaboration with the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, the book introduces us to dozens of painters, photographers, sculptors and collectors. Its pages open with the earliest artists to work on the island, including George Wills Potter, who sketched island life for his real estate company brochures. We read the story of how Pan of Rohallion (still residing in Pan’s Garden) became one of the nation’s earliest pieces of public art. The book walks us through several eras and into the present day, where you’ll meet our own Sandra Thompson, longtime cover illustrator of the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide.

Palm Beach artists and art lovers have always lived passionate and interesting lives, and Pollack also explores their romances, relationships and heartbreaks. As charming as Palm Beach itself, the book perfectly captures the sense that the island’s history, people and art have been woven together since the first brushstroke.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

 

Trivia Tuesday: Mr. Khan

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Courtesy of New York Social Diary

Mr. Otto Kahn never quite gained the caché of some of the other early Palm Beach elite. It wasn’t for lack of trying; Khan first visited the island in 1916 and soon supported the Palm Beach Art League, built an impressive home on Sunset Avenue, was a shareholder at Palm Beach Stores (a purveyor of gourmet foodstuffs for the early/wealthy “pioneers”), and became a partner in Palm Beach Estates. He and his wife, Addie, belonged to the Bath & Tennis Club, Seminole Golf Club, Oasis Club, Palm Beach Yacht Club, Palm Beach Country Club, and the Palm Beach Angler’s Club, (later the Sailfish Club), and he was a member of the Palm Beach Men’s Club and the Palm Beach Gridiron Club. Khan even thought about buying Whitehall. But he earned lasting fame for a different reason. What is it?

  1. Working as a waiter in New York City, Charlie Chaplin once got a generous tip from Kahn. Chapin later carried a cane in his movies as a tribute to Kahn’s kindness.
  2. Khan, an opera fan, coined the phrase, “It’s not over ’till the fat lady sings.”
  3. Khan asked his Saville Row tailor to add a vest to his suits, to help guard against chilly autumn days in Maine (the Kahns had a home in Cold Spring Harbor). In doing so, he inadvertently invented the three-piece suit.
  4. Khan may have been the inspiration for Monopoly’s “Mr. Moneybags.”

 

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Hasbro

Answer: 4. Khan’s Palm Beach holdings were but a small part of his portfolio. The German-born railroad/banking tycoon owned high-end properties all over the country. His Long Island home, Oheka Castle, had a golf course, a palatial formal garden and a private landing strip. It was among the largest private residences in the country, second only to the Vanderbilts’ Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. The Monopoly character certainly bears a strong resemblance to Khan (though some say it was based on businessman J.P. Morgan). The cartoon tycoon was later renamed Milburn Pennybags.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.

 

 

Palm Beach Palaces

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Photo courtesy of the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach

Have you toured Regents Park?

We thought not. This Friday afternoon, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach will conduct its annual walking tour; this year’s destination is the private Regents Park Historic District. The tour, a benefit of membership, begins with a lecture at the foundation’s office at 311 Peruvian Avenue. Afterward, a trolley will convey participants the 4 miles to Regents Park Road, just south of the Palm Beach Bath & Tennis Club.

The first subdivision on the island, Regents Park was designed, built and landscaped by architect Clarence Mack. His vision was to create a neighborhood enclave with a distinct architectural style inspired by 19th century Regency England. Think classical Greek and Roman architecture, clean lines, symmetrical facades, columns, arched windows.

Mack himself moved into 400 Regents Park Road after its completion in 1961, and lived there until 1981; he passed away one year later.

For more information or to make reservations, please call (561) 832-0731.


pbbor-tree-bwPublished monthly, the Palm Beach Real Estate Guide showcases available Palm Beach real estate, from estates and historic homes to in-town flats and waterfront high-rises. Subscribe or contact us.